BOSTON (CBS) — As the Carolina Hurricanes furiously tried to beat Tuukka Rask in the closing minutes of Game 3 on Tuesday night, Chris Wagner did what he could to make sure that wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately for Wagner, he’ll now miss Thursday night’s Game 4 because of his heroics.
As Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk wound up a slap shot with just over five minutes left in the 2-1 Boston victory, Wagner hit the ice to block the shot. Unfortunately for him, he took the slapper off his right forearm, where there isn’t much protection from a flying rubber disc traveling 90 MPH. Wagner immediately made his way to the Bruins dressing room in obvious pain, because blocking shots in hockey is pretty darn painful.
The Walpole native was back in Boston for further testing on Wednesday, and B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy has already ruled Wagner out for Thursday’s Game 4 in Raleigh. Cassidy didn’t have any further updates, but it’s likely that Wagner’s playoff run is over.
Wagner has been a big part of the Bruins successful fourth line this postseason. He scored a pair of goals for Boston in the Eastern Conference Final, including their first goal of Tuesday night’s win. Wagner, alongside Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom on the fourth line, have provided some much-needed energy and grit out of Boston’s bottom line.
Noel Acciari will now take Wagner’s place on Thursday, Cassidy announced to reporters. Acciari, who has not played since Game 4 against the Columbus Blue Jackets with an undisclosed injury, was cleared to play in Game 3, but Cassidy opted to go with the same lineup that helped Boston win their first two games against the Canes. Acciari has a goal and an assist in 11 games for Boston this postseason.
With a 3-0 series lead, the Bruins will look to complete their sweep of the Hurricanes and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night.